The History of Cinco de Mayo (a guest post)
Growing up we never celebrated Cinco de Mayo. It was only during college that we discovered this celebration. However, if celebrating Cinco de Mayo allows us to share our music, simple recipes, and libations then we say, “The more the merrier and salud to all that is muy bueno!”
If you follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter, you’ve already heard the great news. But if you haven’t, guess what? Paula Deen chose Muy Bueno recipes to be featured on her website for Cinco de Mayo. Can you believe it y’all? We couldn’t be more elated!
Ajua to the sweet, southern Paula Deen team! Salud to you, your health, and your family.
The History of Cinco de Mayo
by Alexis Bonari
When one thinks of Cinco de Mayo, it’s hard not to picture colorful festivities, parades, dancing, singing and of course delicious Mexican food. But many people fail to understand the historical significance behind the popular Mexican-American holiday; in fact, it is a common misconception to associate Cinco de Mayo (meaning the 5th of May in Spanish) with the Mexican Independence Day (which is celebrated on the 16th of September).
The Battle of Puebla
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of approximately 4,000 Mexican soldiers against 8.000 French forces on May 5th, 1862 in Puebla, Mexico; (which is now historically termed as the Battle of Puebla).
Mexico’s victory had a historical importance because the French army was better trained and more equipped than the Mexican forces, but sadly enough the Mexican victory was short lived. The French army then regrouped and went to take on Mexico City, and eventually won the war. However, the victory at Puebla has since become a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination that is still celebrated in Puebla to this day.
The origins of Cinco de Mayo
It may seem hard to believe that Cinco de Mayo isn’t as enthusiastically celebrated in Mexico as it is in the United States, (except of course in Puebla). In fact, the first American Cinco de May celebration began in 1967 when a group of California State University students started celebrating the holiday.
Cinco de Mayo has become an especially popular festive holiday in many American South western states, like Arizona, California, Tennessee, and much more. Although many Mexican-Americans take part in the celebrations to display the strength, unity and history of Mexican culture, many non-Mexicans take part in the holiday to indulge in “all things Mexican,” like music, drinks, food, and dancing. (Some have termed Cinco de Mayo as the “Mexican St. Patrick’s Day for Americans”).
So whether you plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year in style, or if you are of Mexican heritage, it’s important to remember the historical significance of Cinco de Mayo, and perhaps educate others on the true meaning of the popular Mexican holiday as well.